Video Inspiration and the Munsell Color System

The Munsell Color System has come up again in my current course, in the Q&A with instructor Corey D’Augustine on YouTube that I watched last night. The recording is here:

I first mentioned this in relation to the Colour Theory Course in this post.

Something new to me is the Munsell Color System, which defines colour in relation to Hue, Value and Chroma (HVC) which is basically the same idea as HSB. Hue, Saturation (= Chroma) and Brightness (= Value). It is the legacy of Albert H Munsell and more information can be found on the Munsell Color website.

Cory said something in the video explaining that Saturation can be considered as wetness, in the sense of the difference between earth when it is dry compared to when it has rained. A bit of a light bulb moment for me. The Hue is what the colour ‘is’ – red, green, blue, etc, where on the wavelength spectrum. And the Value is how much white or black in added in.

I went out into the garden this morning to hang out washing and it has been wet for a few days. I noticed how vibrant the colours where both of the plants and the earth, while it was still a little cloudy before the full sun had bleached things out. I have a variation of oregano that has a very lime green leaf, which looked so bright. It inspired me to make some photographs (two examples below).

Oregano image copyright Karen Cropper

Image copyright Karen Cropper

Cory also talked about varnish. That it doesn’t actually protect paint in relation to longevity, from a conservators point of view. And all varnishes will change colour to some extent over time and conservators have to remove them with great difficulty and replace. But artists use a varnish coat to increase the saturation and bring the painting back to the look it had when they paint it with the wet paint.

After the Q&A session, I had a look at the list of other videos on the MoMA YouTube Channel and I watched parts of the video below on How to Paint like Agnes Martin. It really excited me, not because I want to paint exactly like that, but it validates the way I am thinking of the kinds of things that I am drawn to produce in both my creative coding and now painting.

I also feel anger that there have been so many women artists who in many ways, since the odds have been stacked against them in the male dominated culture, are even more brave and inspiring than their male counterparts, yet they are continually left out in the accounts presented to us. So I need to learn more about these female pioneers.

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